LATE NIGHT, I WAS WALKING HOME ...
...from the Perry Castañada Library at the University of Texas at Austin around 3:45 AM with a couple of friends after a night of studying. As we close near of the apartments, we hear screaming. It progressively gets louder and louder. Confused, I look to the right to see a man, late in his 30’s, with a blanked draped around his head. He had a scruffy beard with ripped clothing. Instantly, the thought “Homeless” comes to my mind as society has instituted ways for everyone to generalize the rest of the world. The raggedy man was yelling but no one was around him. He was having a conversation with an individual but he was the only one talking as no one else was in front of the man. At 3:45 AM, this man was walking around the streets of West Campus, thinking he was talking to individuals but in reality he was just yelling to himself. Millions of Americans are affected by mental health conditions every year.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year. 42.8 million people, that is an astronomical amount of people that go through a behavioral pattern that causes poor ability to maintain what everyone believes is a ‘normal life’. The world today
is run through social stigma, in which society dictates what’s right and what’s wrong. A
person facing mental health difficulties might think the life that they are living is ‘normal’ because everyone’s perception of normal is different.
My personal experience with mental health has been with anxiety. Anxiety is a state of mind where one experiences uneasiness, a feeling of worry about an event or certain situation. Anxiety has attached to me ever since I started college, having to worry about my grades, my classwork, and even sometimes my relationships with my peers. It’s a tough situation to be in because you constantly think the worse. But it’s a state of mind that can be wired to change and think positively with one’s hobbies. For example, whenever I was young, I loved to paint. Therefore, I started painting again and found a sense of calm with every brushstroke. Another hobby I gained was reading. I never had the time to pick up and read a book from cover to cover in college but I made time for myself to read poetry and other books that help me become a better person. Lastly, I sought music as a way to get away from constant stress that college life puts on an individual. The more I listened to new songs that resonated with my life, I knew I was not alone in this fight with anxiety because there are others who deal with the exact situation as well.
The best way to combat such a problem is doing things that work for you, whether if it’s the things I listed above or keeping a diary of some sort, etc. There are better days ahead and if one keeps pushing and fighting, they will come. No one is alone in this as there are various outlets to get help such as talking to your friends or a counselor that is available on every campus. All you have to do is believe in yourself and think positively.